From my perch on the pew, I saw a mother approach with two children, a son and a daughter. I smiled as I looked up and then slid to the center of the pew to allow them entry. The mother sat down beside me and introduced herself. Almost immediately, though, she thought better of this seating arrangement and opted to sit between the children to separate them. A fortuitous choice, it turns out, as it placed her lovely daughter right beside me.
The service had not started yet. The little girl, who looked to be about age 10, smiled at me. I smiled back. "You look beautiful today," she said. "Why, thank you. So do you," I told her. "My name's Mackenzie," she announced. "My name is Diane," I told her. "It's very nice to meet you, Mackenzie."
Before the service began, Mackenzie politely peppered me with questions. "Are you married?" she asked. Do you have children? Do you work? I answered them all, happy to satisfy her childish curiosity. During the service, Mackenzie offered money for me to put in the collection plate. "That's ok," I whispered to her and winked. "I have my own." At one point, Mackenzie lightly leaned her head on my shoulder and smiled. "You have a pretty smile," she whispered.
Before the final prayer and dismissal, Mackenzie, her mom and brother exited the pew and were gone. Gone before I could say it was a pleasure to meet her and that I hoped to see her again.
The innocent smile and kind words of a child had melted my troubled heart. I was smiling broadly as I joined my fellow parishioners in a stream from the sanctuary and into the bright sunlight. The priest's message for the day was still echoing in my ears: Peace, be still.
And so I was. And so I am as I write this. And so I will be ... until the next storm comes along to toss me about. And then I will look for another lifeboat. Another small miracle. Another random act of kindness. Another Mackenzie.
Just as Mackenzie passed the peace to me last Sunday, I now pass it to you: Peace be with you.
Do you let the small storms of life get you down? Where do you find peace? Please share your thoughts in the Comments.